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5-Series (E12,E28, E34, E39, E60) Chat relating to the BMW 5-Series of all generations. Specific models include: BMW 518, BMW 520, BMW 520i, BMW 530i, BMW 528i, BMW 530i, BMW 518i, BMW 524d, BMW 525i, BMW 525e, BMW 528e, BMW 540i, BMW 535i, BMW 520d, BMW 525td, BMW 525d, BMW 530d, BMW 525i/xi, BMW 530i/xi. (BMW 5-Series Forum)

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Old 09-19-2004, 10:13 AM   #1 (permalink)
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A couple weeks ago, the shop I go to replaced my lower control arms. This is probably unrelated to my current problem, but can't hurt to mention it. Also, a couple weeks before that, they had to replace the idler pulley for the A/C. The A/C worked fine after that, and my very minor fan belt squealing noise disappered. All seemed well, except they noticed more play in the front wheels than there should be. Hence the replacement of the lower control arms, which fixed that problem.

About a week later, I noticed that if the engine was cold and I needed to turn the wheel sharply, as in backing out of the garage, I would hear a "moaning" sound when the wheel was cranked to near maximum (I never turn it to full right or left as I've heard this can be bad for the power steering pump.) After the car was warmed up, I would rarely hear this sound. I figured next service I would have them look to see if something was rubbing, etc.

Then, yesterday, something suddenly changed dramatically. The second I start the engine, I hear a loud metalic scraping sound, occurring at about one second intervals.

It's a bit like the sound of two files being rubbed together, and lould enough to be noticeable and alarming even with the engine sounds, the seat belt warning alarm going off (I always start the engine, then put on my belt, etc., giving the engine a few extra seconds to get the oil circulated.

I don't dare start the car now.. I'm afraid I will add a bunch of zeros to the end of whatever the repair bill turns out to be!

Anybody got any ideas?

Also, a possibly related question. When the engine is cold.. having sat overnight, should the fluid level in the radiator be very low? I can see all the way to the bottom of the plates.. and there is crud in there. The shop had told me the next thing that usually goes is the radiator.. although the temp guage is right where is should be and the heat works fine.

I'm not very automotive-litterate, and so am not sure what's going on. Only that it began recently, and suddenly got MUCH worse yesterday.

My tentative plan is to have the car flat-bedded to the shop and get a rental or loaner while they figure it out. I don't dare drive it, or even let the engine idle.

Sorry for the rambling.. it's Sunday morning and I'm a bit flipped out. Maybe I should sell this thing and buy a Honda Civic! I have this feeling that I might be entering the phase where I get nickle and dimed to death keeping it running right.

Thanks,
Bob
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Old 09-19-2004, 12:47 PM   #2 (permalink)
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sounds of two FILES rubbing? I am not clear on this...also year? model? mileage? will help
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Old 09-19-2004, 01:37 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I guess that wasn't very clear, was it? I thought I gave the year and model.. '98 528i. About 80K miles on it.

I meant two METAL files.. the kind you'd use to file down a piece of metal. Not computer files.

It's a harsh scraping noise. I you can imagine perhaps take a metal file or perhaps a hacksaw, and making rythmic cuts in an empty coffee can, you might have the idea. A back and forth cut, once/second. RIP-RIP, RIP-RIP, RIP-RIP. I used the example of two metal files scraping against each other to try to convey the harshness and metalic quality of the sound.

The car just turned over 81K miles. Has been maintained scrupulously since I got it at about 50K miles.. fed on synthetic oil changed every 3-4K or 3-4 months.. which ever comes first (the miles always come first actually.)

I did find one thing loose.. the bottom gromet attachment to hold the air intake box was missing. Hold it up with my hand and any rattling sounds ceased instantly. A rubber washer jammed in there fixed that until I can get to the dealer. I remains to be seen if it fixes the problems I noted above with cold engine, grinding sounds every second, and the occassional WHINE as I turn the wheel when the car has just been started. I don't think it's the same issue.. but any noise I can fix is good.

I asked my wife if she wanted me to try this 37 cent rubber grommet thing first, or to simply go the easy route and get a new M5 tomorrow. She opted for the grommet, after giving me "the look."

Thanks,
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Old 09-19-2004, 03:57 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Please Accept my apology Bob I did not pay attention blame it on the flood!! My fault..hoping I will get back to you soon to help..again I am sorry and after reading your post for the second time you were more than clear. Year/ model/mileage /files not computers/the whole 9 yards. What can I say the flood stupid.
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Old 09-19-2004, 04:42 PM   #5 (permalink)
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BOB
Let me try this for a make up after the apology:

1. The moaning sound when turning the wheel is your power steering unit. Normal sound is closer to hissing sound when the wheels turned all the way. Does not hurt to check the fuild 1st...it has it own little dipstick but very prone to leakage..use ATF fluid to top off NOT power steering fluid. Read what it says on the cap which is dipstick itself. While at it check for leaks under the bottle itself. If any leaks your alternator will be showering with fluid since it lives on the 1st floor where the power steering reservior is the 2nd floor tenant. It has 2 small hoses with clamps..these hoses tend to weaken/crack then leak. I usually cut the end of the hose then reattach with new clamps. Don't overtighten..yes it is plastic and you will break it if you do.

2. I hate to say this one: a similar problem with filing noise (not computer files) turned out to be the starter. What? yes the starter when cold cranked the car the starter refused to back off the flyingwheel...It had a mind of its own...changed it then checked ok. Of course it does not mean this is your problem; the noise was much louder than FILING an empty coffee can. It was like grinding coffee at Chuck full of Nuts coffee factory.

3. To put my money down? I like to bet on the idler pulley..although you did change it and its new I will recheck again for the possibility of defected part or bad installation. What I would do in this case? I would have sprayed some WD-40 on all pullies before and after starting the engine while keeping my fingers away from the fan. As such I'll be able to role out that possibility.

for whatever its worth the above where my 3 cents in.

Let us know and Good luck
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Old 09-19-2004, 05:13 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Check yo Power steering fluid levels!
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Old 09-20-2004, 08:44 AM   #7 (permalink)
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BillB, please don't apologize! I'm the one asking for help, and giving the bare minimum of info to work on!

Your suggestions all sound good, but, alas, it may be a bit late. This morning I went out to go to work, and the racket was worse than it's ever been.

I hooked the rear towing hook on the car, called the car place, told them to have it flat-bedded to their site, and to fix it. Also told my wife to make sure to tell the flatbed guy NOT to hook to any of the suspension parts to tie the car down! I took my wife's car to work. I just didn't have time to try anything, and I had yet to receive your notes in any event.

Since the car place did the idler pulley and the lower control arms, I'm hoping they will simply say "We overlooked a few things, and the fix is free." Yeah, I know.. dream on!

I did NOT check the power steering fluid.. not having received that suggestion until too late.. but it's an obvious one in retrospect. OTOH, when first started up, no steering is being done, so it simply didn't occur to me. I've never once in over 40 years of driving had a problem with power steering fluid. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it!

Hopefully I'll hear from the car place (Import AutoHaus in Rochester, NY) that all is well and that they've solved the problem with no expense to me. (Well, I can dream, right?)

Thanks for the help/advice.. but it's out of my hands to a large extent now. They just find whatever they find.. and do whatever they do. I will raise a stink if it's anything they worked on recently.. but short of that there's nothing much I can do.

Thanks for the help, folks!

Bob
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Old 09-20-2004, 09:36 AM   #8 (permalink)
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BTW, Bill... I hope you are surviving the flood!!! ??

It's odd how all of these hurricanes are devestating areas right and left, and the news never carries reports of how they are making out during the recovery phase. We hear about the hurricane approaching, and hitting, and then nothing. How are the people surviving? What's going on in the way of getting them help? Not a word! Weird.

Best to you and yours!
Bob
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Old 09-20-2004, 10:32 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Bob you are a gentleman I appreciate it.

1. I used my wife's car also when I lost the bimmer to the flood.
2. Your mechanic ought not to charge you if the problem is with the new pullies.
3. I would call the place up asking to check fluids

As to this devastating hurricanes? Well it is ELECTION TIME MEDIA LOVES TO SHOW US PERFECTIONS INCLUDING IRAQ!!!!!!!!!!

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